From Wikipedia: Nicholas Nicastro is an American scholar and novelist. Born in Astoria, New York in 1963, he received a BA in English from Cornell University (1985), an MFA in filmmaking from New York University (1991), an M.A. in archaeology and a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell (1996 and 2003). He has also worked as a film critic, a hospital orderly, a newspaper reporter, a library archivist, a college lecturer in anthropology and psychology, an animal behaviorist, and an advertising salesman. His Cornell dissertation research on how humans respond to the vocalizations of domestic cats got some attention from the news media, especially in publications aimed at "cat people". His writings include short fiction, travel and science articles in such publications as The New York Times, The New York Observer, Film Comment, and the International Herald Tribune. In 1996, he wrote and directed the documentary video "Science or Sacrilege: Native Americans, Archaeology & the Law", an examination of the conflict between scientists and native people for control of ancient remains. The video is currently distributed by Berkeley Media LLC, and is often shown in college courses on this subject. Nicastro's ancient fiction, including "Empire of Ashes" and "The Isle of Stone", is characterized by a willingness to explore the dark underside of popular historical exploits. In Ashes, he presents the career of Alexander the Great from the perspective of a skeptical Athenian soldier/historian who must debunk Alexander's official divinity to save himself from a charge of sacrilege. In "Isle of Stone", Nicastro presents a portrait of ancient Sparta during the Peloponnesian War that departs from what classical historian Paul Cartledge calls "the Spartan mirage". Instead, he reveals both the roots and the consequences of practices that, some say, made Sparta the Western world's prototype of a totalitarian society.Read more Read less
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